As holiday baking is in full swing, we know many home candy makers are getting ready to bring their best fudge platter to their upcoming parties. Holiday fudge makes a delicious treat to devour and it is also the perfect DIY treat for gifting. These are our best tips for making foolproof fudge every time.
Have the Right Equipment
It pays off to invest in a heavy-bottomed, stainless-steel pot. When using a pot that is too thin or not of good quality, the sugar is more receptive to burning.
Use a Thermometer
To make sure fudge sets properly and has the right consistency you need it to reach a temperature of at least 234°F, which is called the soft-ball stage. Using a thermometer can be the game changer to avoid sticky candy or fudge that did not set up properly!
If you do not have a thermometer on hand another option is checking if the fudge is in the soft-ball stage with a quick test. The soft-ball test is a tool candy makers use to help make sure their candy mixture has reached the correct temperature. To test, once your fudge has reached 234°F, place a small amount of the hot candy into cold water. Once cooled, remove from water and the fudge ball should flatten immediately.
When it comes to candy thermometers there are a few options to choose from; and all are excellent candy making tools to use depending on your creation.
As the most economical choice, our Basic Candy thermometer is a good choice for the occasional user. It’s ideal for making hard candy, and cooked candies like fudge, caramels, and taffy.
For more serious candy makers or for someone who wants a higher-end product, the Premium Metal Candy thermometer features a sturdy metal housing, wide plastic handle and tight pan clip.
When only the best will do, the top-of-the line Digital Candy thermometer is our recommendation and the one we prefer in our test kitchen. This well-made thermometer is battery operated and can be programmed to sound an alert when desired temperature is reached – no waiting by the stove required!
Do Not Over Stir
Over-stirring fudge can result in a gritty or grainer texture of fudge because the sugars have crystallized. If melting sugar splashes onto the sides of your pan, use a wet pastry brush to wipe down to keep the fudge from seizing. Also, once you pour fudge into a prepared pan, do not disturb the fudge until it’s fully set.
Choose the Right Recipe
Traditional fudge made the old-fashioned way uses butter, milk, sugar, and cocoa powder. If you are new to making candy or fudge, we suggest you look for recipes that contain marshmallow cream, marshmallows, or sweetened condensed milk. The egg whites and gelatin in marshmallows and the dairy proteins in sweetened condensed milk help break down the sugar crystals and create the structure needed to make a smooth and creamy, yet firm fudge. Cream of Tartar is another specialty ingredient that can also help prevent large crystal formation. These type of fudge recipes are easy to make with kids if you are looking for fun activities to do during the holiday winter break.
Flavor Your Fudge
For a fun and delicious spin to your fudge, flavor it with Super-Strength flavors. With over 100+ flavors to choose from the options are endless! Some of our staff’s favorite flavors in fudge include cotton candy, amaretto, bubble gum, and mint chocolate chip. Make up your own flavor combinations to create a fudge that is unique to you! For 1lb of fudge, we suggest a usage rate of ¼ – ½ a teaspoon of the Super-Strength flavor of choice. For large-scale candy makers making a batch of 10 lbs. we recommend a usage rate of 2 ½ – 5 teaspoons of the Super-Strength flavor of choice. When making fudge or a ganache, solubility of the flavor is not an issue. However, when flavoring chocolate or coatings, please make sure you are using an oil-soluble flavor so your chocolate does not seize.